1. This was a Rule calling upon the District Magistrate to show cause why the conviction and sentence passed upon, the petitioner should not be set aside, on the ground that the facts found did not disclose the commission of any offence under Section 112 of the Railways Act (Act IX of 1890).
2. Section 112 of the Act makes it an offence in any person to enter a railway carriage in contravention of Section 68 of the Act with intent to defraud a Railway administration and Section (58 provides that no person shall, without the permission of a Railway servant, enter any carriage on a Railway for the purpose of travelling therein as a passenger unless he has with him a proper pass or ticket.
3. In the present case the petitioner was travelling on the 3rd May by a railway train, and when called upon to produce his ticket by a ticket checker he produced a ticket dated the 2nd of May. Now, it appears that though the ticket contained nothing on the face of it to show that this was the case, yet the rules of the Railway Company are that a ticket is only available for the particular railway journey for which it is issued and if a person is unable to travel, by the train by which he intended to travel then he ought to go back to the Station Master for a refund of the money he paid for the ticket. When he was called upon to produce his ticket, it is alleged, and found as a fact, that he had in his possession another ticket, similar to the ticket he produced, which he threw away; and when it was explained to him that this ticket was not available on that day, he offered to pay the fare. Now, the question is whether ' these facts justify a conviction for a breach of the provisions of Section 112 of the Railways Act, bearing in mind that the essence of an offence under that section consists of an intent to defraud the Railway Company.
4. The learned Vakil who has shown cause against this Rule has argued that the possession of another ticket and the throwing it away indicate that the petitioner was dishonest. We do not think that that can be fairly inferred from the circumstances. The petitioner might have known that he was committing a breach of the Railways Act or rather of the rules regulating the Railway, but we think that until there is evidence from which it could be clearly inferred that he knew, that the ticket bad been used before, it is very difficult to say that there is anything from which an intention to cheat the Railway Company could be inferred. In this particular case there is no evidence to show that the ticket was issued to any other person than the petitioner and there is no evidence that the ticket in question had been used before. The inference, therefore, is that the ticket properly represents a fare which had been paid and for which the holder of the ticket is entitled to travel by the intended train. Even supposing that a breach of the rules was committed and the man knew that he ought not to have travelled on the 3rd, we think it is very difficult to say that he intended to cheat the Railway Company as long as he held a ticket which represented the fare paid. He chose to avail himself of the ticket on a wrong day instead of going direct to the Station Master for a refund of the money or for a ticket in return--but in that state of facts he would have had, we think, consideration for the money paid and the Railway Company would have received the price of that journey, namely, the cost of the ticket.
5. With reference to the main knowledge of the Rail A ay rules, it is strenuously argued that the ticket was not available on the following day; but it is to be observed that though these rules are said to be posted upon the Railway Stations, there is nothing to show that the attention of this particular traveller was ever'drawn to them and it is a very strong circumstance, we think, that when this ticket is looked at, there is nothing on the face of it or on its back which would intimate to the holder of the ticket that it was only available for a particular train and we think that, in the absence of any such intimation, it was quite possible for the man to think that it was genuinely usable for another train on the day on which the ticket was issued and perhaps for a train on the day following. The essence of the offence to defraud the Railway Company has not been proved in this case.
6. For these reasons we think that the conviction and sentence of the petitioner cannot stand.
7. We, therefore, set aside the conviction and sentence and acquit him.
8. The fine, if paid, must be refunded to the petitioner.